Archive for the Tea Category

The Strange World of Garlic Usage

Posted in Cooking, Food, Health, History, Life, Science, Tea with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2013 by urbannight

Once upon a time, when I was feeling poorly, a friend told me to rub garlic on the bottoms of my feet. My big question was how this was supposed to help my cold. It made no sense. Since then, I’ve looks up uses for garlic. There are some really strange ones out there.

To start with, garlic seems to have some antibiotic properties. This means it can kill some bacteria and fungus. It is supposedly good against viruses but I’m not sure about that. Viruses usually just need to run their course. It may help prevent mold. Throughout history, it has been used for many medical purposes so I would have to guess some of them were helpful enough for people to keep using it.

Garlic is supposed to help reduce acne. But that is strange to me. Acne is not a bacterial issue. It a build up of oil, dirt, dead skin flakes, lotions, and make-up. It’s a build-up of anything that can block the pores. It’s been proven that eating chips and pizza will not cause acne. It is partly a skin care issue and partly an issue of some people being more prone to it than others. Some health conditions may make it worse. But I always thought that was because the condition was influencing the health of the skin by causing some kind of imbalance. Your skin is actually an organ. So I would think running garlic over the skin would just add garlic oil to the mix of stuff clogging up the pores.

While we are on skin, a cut garlic rubbed into cold sores is supposed to help them heal faster. Now this makes a little more sense than using it to treat acne. The antibiotic nature of the garlic has something other that dirt and oil to kill and lead to healing.

Another skin condition it is supposed to help is Athlete’s foot. Garlic is an antifungal. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection. You crush or smash some garlic and put it in a footbath of warm water. That gets the oils out of the garlic and spreads the oils over the feet as you soak in hot water. This sounds logical, more logical than running garlic over your feet for a cough.

Making a paste of minced garlic, olive oil, facial cleanser, and sugar, massage into the skin, and rinse, is supposed to tighten and exfoliate the skin while drying out acne. I suppose it might dry and tighten depending on the facial cleanser being used. The paste with sugar as a defoliant probably does work.

It’s supposed to help clear up psoriasis. Now they have identified an acid contained in garlic that is working on a certain omega fatty acid in the skin so this may have some truth to it.

This is a strange one, as putting garlic oil on a mole, several times a day, and coving with a bandage, is supposed to remove a mole. Sounds like duct tape, which has some chemical or compound in the adhesive that is supposed to do the same thing.

Now for some non-skin related uses.

It supposedly can be minced and put in mineral oil for a full day, and then the infused oil is mixed with a bit of liquid soap and some water and put in a spray bottle. Spray on plants as a natural pesticide. Liquid soap isn’t natural. Can it still be called a natural pesticide? I guess bugs don’t like garlic. This reminds me that they used to say eating a lot of garlic would keep mosquitoes away. That has been disproven. Some say infusing it in the mineral oil and then mixing that with water and lemon juice and using it as a spray on may work. Much like the homemade pesticide.

You are supposed to be able to mend hairline cracks in glass by putting crushed garlic over it to fill the crack. Not sure that I would want to do that. Wouldn’t you still see a line? Even more so than the hairline crack?

Apparently fish like garlic. Some fishermen swear by it to bait their hooks.

It may work as a road de-icer. As the story goes, a spice maker had a batch of bad garlic salt and donated it to a town to put on the roads on winter. I’m not sure the garlic had as much to do with it as the salt.

Massaging the scalp with garlic or garlic oil is supposed to stimulate hair growth.

Here is one of the stranger ones again, cut a sliver of garlic and tie a string around it and put it in your ear to combat an ear infection. Not something I would want to do. The other version of this is to crush some garlic, place it in hot olive oil for 5 minutes. Then you strain and cool the oil. Use it as ear drops. You may be able to find ear drops made of garlic oil in home natural heath food store or someplace like Whole Foods.

Similarly, it can be peeled but not cut, put into a strip of cheesecloth, and inserted using a tampon applicator in order to treat a yeast infection. Like athletes foot, it is a fungal infection. Only in this case, it is caused by the body’s natural bacteria getting out of balance allowing for the growth of this. The ‘good’ bacteria normally eats this naturally occurring ‘fungus’. When something kills the good bacteria then you produce too much of this and get an infection.

One item I found on one site was using thin slices of garlic over a splinter and the splinter will work itself out. I’m not sure how that is supposed to happen. Is garlic a wood magnet?

Internally, some people find regular consumption of garlic eases gas. For other people it causes gas. Make minced garlic into a tea for sore throats and as a cough syrup. It is supposed to reduce the duration of a cold as well and regular consumption of it is supposed to help prevent colds. Researches believe that it is a component called allicin that does this.

Compounds in garlic are supposed to send signals to the brain that you are full. So a dish with a lot of garlic in it may make you feel fuller faster. Thus you eat less of it. And it is supposed to rev up the metabolism so you burn more calories. So it may have minor weight loss properties.

Speaking of ‘wood’, it’s been used as an aphrodisiac for just about forever. It is suspected that it is because garlic aids in blood circulation, so blood is pumped to the extremities more efficiently. So it ‘may’ increase a man’s endurance.

Using it with some a rather strange list of food ingredients may clear out intestinal parasites. Icky.

Cayenne Pepper

Posted in Cooking, Food, Health, Hobby, Tea with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2013 by urbannight

cayenne-pepper-diet

The queen of peppers. She is in the middle of the bar for heat. (A three on the 5 point chart I was looking at the other day.) They are a lovely, shiny, bright red but can look pinkish as well. You can eat them green or fully ripe. A lovely, barely there flavor, they work wonderfully to add heat to any dish without significantly altering the inherent flavor of the dish. High in Vitamin A and other vitamins, most people can’t eat enough to make it count. But it has often been used as a warming spice, to combat cold-temperature areas as well as something to help make you sweat and thereby, somehow, keep you cooler in hot climates. That second half never made sense to me.

It supposedly reduces pain, improves blood flow, and helps ulcers. Yep, a chili pepper that helps ulcers. It is supposed to be calming on the stomach and a tea of it is sometimes used for this purpose. It is quite good at getting the sinuses flowing. All chili peppers are anti-inflammatories. The hotter the pepper the more capsaicin. The more capsaicin, the better it is as an anti-inflammatory. Making it good for arthritis and other inflammations and inflammation based pain.

I’ve heard tell that the peppers help you lose weight because you eat less. But any help in weight loss may actually be attributed to thermogenics. The capsaicin produces a reaction where the body gets very hot. This reaction actually requires a lot of energy, like putting coals on a fire. So your body starts burning an increased amount of calories and uses more oxygen for around about 20 minutes. Perhaps I should have a much of cayenne tea in the morning and before or after every meal.

This is my all time, favorite herb.

Obsession

Posted in Apartments, Art, Books, Entertainment, Food, Hobby, Life, Movies and Theatre, Photography, Science, Tea, Technology, Television, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2013 by urbannight

I signed up for a Pinterest page.  I now understand how people say it can get obsessive and one can get lost in it.  Hopefully I will emerge from it soon. 

Things I’ve found on it:

Books, Movies, Food, Art, Decor, Homes, Style, Space, Science Fiction, Star Wars, Comics, Daleks, Tardis, Doctor Who, Nature, Scenery, and pretty much everything under the sun.

 

How to Get Rid of Mucus in Your Throat

Posted in Entertainment, Life, Movies and Theatre, Tea, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2012 by urbannight

This is how I feel when I have a sinus infection and am searching for relief.

The title is a search term that brought someone to my bolg.  For some reason, it really amused me.  Maybe because I’ve had issues with it.  Maybe because I woke up at 4:00 am with a sore throat, swollen glands, and totally congested.  So I thought I might address the issue.

So I promptly went and made dinner (smashed potatoes, a hamburger patty, and herb gravy for beef).  While cooking and eating dinner I watched Chalet Girl.  It didn’t bore or annoy me in the first 5 minutes.  This was good.  Bill Nighy came on the screen.  This was better.  It was at that moment I knew I would finish the movie and, at the very least, like it.  I loved it.  A winning skateboarder takes a job at a chalet in the Alps in order to help support her father after they were in a car crash that killer her mother.  She has never skied and this puts her in an awkward position with her coworker.  She comes across a snow board.  This resembles a skateboard.  So she gives it a go.  And the movie progresses from there.  Give it a go.  It won’t clear your throat but it will entertain you and distract you from it.  Just like it distracted me from writing the post after I got out the first paragraph.

One of the most common methods is decongestants.  After all, the mucus is coming from the sinuses.  The only problem with these is that sometimes they really dry you out.  You end up with dry mouth, dry nostrils, dry eyes, over dryness in more delicate areas.  And if it isn’t very effective, you can’t really take much else for a few hours.  I tend to fluctuate between using them a lot and using them as a last resort.  I’m in a ‘last resort’ sort of place now.

Soup is good.  Hot soup.  Steaming soup.  Spicy soup that gets the sinuses flowing and hot in temperature that  sort of ‘melts’ it from your throat.  I like Chicken Soup from Hell.   Dice up a chicken breast, brown in some olive oil.  Toss in onion and garlic. LOTS of onion and garlic.  Add water.  Add bullion. Add seasoning.  The most important being the cayenne pepper.   In fact, the chicken is just to give the soup some thing to actually eat in it.  The point is to get the onion, garlic, and cayenne into the system for their health and cold fighting properties. 

They say hot tea works, especially hot mint tea.  I never found this to be true.   Inhaling the steam while it cools enough to actually drink it just doesn’t get enough through the sinuses.  The hot tea helps the throat somewhat, but usually, once it gets to drinking temperature, it doesn’t clear the throat as well as soup in general does.  Now if you take a pure mint tea bag and use it as a smelling sachet, that does work clear the sinuses and eventually the throat.  A warning, you will be inhaling small particles of mint leaves and it will turn your mucus a deep green when you next blow your nose.

Nasal sprays work fantastic on the nose and can sorta clear the throat.  But they leave a horrible taste in the back of the throat, make the nose feel raw, can lead to increased sore throats, can lead to increased congestion when they wear off, and can result in a cycle of constant use to clear the increasingly worse congestion.  And you should never use them for longer than seven days.  So I’ll only use them at bed time if I’m too bad off to fall asleep.  I and use them very sparingly.

There is an old chorus trick of gargling or drinking lemon juice to clear the throat of mucus.  This can be somewhat effective.  But if you have an actual sore throat, this can also sting.   On a similar note, I’ve found gargling with strong alcohol (think vodka and such) to be helpful in the short-term.  The very short-term.  For 15 minutes or so.  probably not worth it really.  Unless it’s to get some relief while you are cooking soup or something.  Or you want a few drinks so you don’t care about the annoying, thick, choking mucus in  your throat that is really annoying you.

And then there is my personal favorite, the neti pot.  This like device washes the sinuses out with a saline solution.  It helps pull it out of the back the help clear the throat.  This also makes the mucus shift and makes you want to spit a few times which also helps.  You have to blow your nose a couple of times in the 5 or 10 minutes after using it so that helps too.  It really makes you feel better in the nose and throat.  And if you feel like you are coming down with a sinus infection, regular use every 4 – 6 hours helps prevent said infection.  By clearing it out regularly, it can’t build up a ‘pool’ of infected mucus in your sinuses and thus the body’s natural defenses are able to better fight off any infection and you can avoid having to over use antibiotics from the doctor. 

So, the neti pot is my favorite method of not only clearing my nose, but clearing out the thick gunk that builds up and coats the throat, so it feels like you cannot clear your throat.  That’s as long as I remember to actually use it. Some days, I don’t notice it until I’ve left for work and it will annoy me all day long.  I hate it when that happens.  I had bought a second one to keep at work and a second box of the saline, but somewhere along the line one set vanished and I once again must remember to carry mine around with extra packets of saline.

Lair of the Lion and My Crazy Week, Happy FRIDAY!

Posted in Books, Entertainment, Food, Life, Tea, Work, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2012 by urbannight

This week has been on the crazy side.  So I’ve missed another couple of days.

First, I ended up being very sad when I watched Eureka and Dr. Holly Martin (?) was killed.  Yeah, my favorite character and I can’t remember her exact last name.  From the first episode with Felicia Day, her character became my favorite character.  The way she was killed off seemed so senseless.  I see some people hoping that she is somehow saved.  I just don’t see it happening with the way the Senator instructs some people to dispose of her.  I don’t think Beverly would have the chance to try to save her.  She flatlined.  Flat out flatlined.  I just don’t see it being changed.  I do agree with the people who feels this motivates Beverly to change sides.  She always thought she was on the right side, the good side, the side not under the thumb of the military.  She always tried to avoid causing real injury to people.  So the Senator’s actions are anathema to her view of the Consortium or whomever they really are.  And based on the teaser for next week, it looks like I might be right.

Then there was the car trouble that turned out to be relatively painless and easy to fix.  (White smoke from tail pipe.  Oil Change and Engine Coolant.  56$) And then work issues with my keyboard.  Or more importantly, the soda (Dr. Pepper) I bought that kept exploding all over me yesterday.  I was so happy to get home to rinse off.  I couldn’t open a soda to save my life yesterday.

I managed to get some Tempura that was okay, but not as good as I like.  So I’m still jonesing for proper Tempura.  Still, a Shrimp Tempura and a Veggie Tempura appetizer makes a decent Tempura dinner for 11$. And work was crazy for a couple of days, but then it slowed to a crawl. 

The really important but utterly irrelevant and rather meaningless and useless thing is I got my Tauntaun in SW’TOR.  It is very tiny and very cute.  I also got the GW birthday pet.  I think my bird was prettier.  The Hell Hound looks like super heated stone.

I finished a book and I had to do my review for Goodreads.  Since I’m feeling Lazy, that will be most of this blog.  It probably isn’t the most in-depth review.  But it is better than some of the two-liners I often see.  Okay, two sentences, but two-liners just sounds better.

Christine Feehan’s books have gotten highly repetitive. Sometimes it feels like the same people with different names. In fact, it reached a point that I only read them because of the story arc that spanned many books was more interesting than the individual books themselves. Lair of the Lion was a nice change.

Clearly a book outside of the other sets she has going, this 2002 book is about people under a curse rather than a completely different race of people. I give it four stars because it was a refreshing change from most of her books. It may be a tad high because there were so many places where the story could have really delved into more deeply. Much of the back story that created the personalities and motivations was glossed over.

Romance novels are usually stand alone books that may have a series tying various characters together. But each book is only about one couple. This book had so many areas that could have been explored that it could have been taken out of the realm of romance and into a multi-book drama/fantasy.  I would have like to have read that.

 
In a sing song voice:
 
I like tea, tea likes me, tea makes me pee.
 
It’s Friday, just go with it.   HAPPY FRIDAY!

 

When Life Derails You.

Posted in Art, Books, Entertainment, Food, Gaming, Life, Movies and Theatre, Tea, Work, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2012 by urbannight

I was under the weather at the start of the week and then I have been working long days in order to make up some of the time rather than burning sick time or vacation time.  As a result, my list of blog topics is growing but I’m not finding time to actually work on them.  

I’ll try to get back to writing something this weekend.  I want to review a movie I saw, write about books I’m looking for but have forgotten the titles, the tea I ordered, not so lovely doctor’s visits, and a photo shoot of beloved clothing I can’t part with and the clothing I would like to purchase if I ever lose some weight.  

So if you like movies, books, YA sci-fi, tea, and gothish and gothic clothing and corsetry, Heavy Red in particular and some random cooking and crafting stuff, stay tuned for future installments.

Random Lunch-Time Update

Posted in Books, Entertainment, Food, Life, Politics, Tea, Uncategorized, Work, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2012 by urbannight

I shall have to clock back in from lunch soon so I shall type a few sentences to share.

Due to a technical difficulty, I can’t post pictures for an update on the TARDIS project, the pumpkin project, the yarn projects, and various other projects. (I left the cord in another bag)

I did use most of lunch to try to catch up with all the blogs I follow.  I’ve gotten a bit behind.

News articles left me feeling more misanthropic and politically annoyed than usual and I may rant about it at another time.  If I remember.

Half a dose of Pain Killer PM is enough to make you drowsy enough to sleep through alarms but is not enough pain killer to make a pulled muscle and headache go away quickly.  I’m pretty sure it was the cat’s fault.

Coffee taste never lives up to smell and it takes 14 creamers and 10 sugars to make it at least drinkable.

Why do people think their claims can be handled within three hours of being turned in?  In an age when 3 minutes in a microwave is too long to wait everything must get done instantly.  Right?

I’m rereading too many of my Terry Pratchett books.  I found myself writing about ‘punnes’, you know, plays on words.

I have a large stack of fantasy, mystery, sci-fi novels to read and I keep buying more, but they just seem to dark and I’m not in the mood for dark.  So I keep rereading the lighter, amusing stuff I already own.

Time may be up now.